ASPI suggests
18 Aug 2017|

Welcome back to another week of ASPI suggests.

First up, here are some solid reads on le sujet du jour: North Korea. This Esquire piece delivers what it says on the box: a good read about Kim Jong-un’s campaign to consolidate power by killing off his family. If that piques your interest but 6,000 words is a bit of a tall order, don’t hesitate to devour this pithy, on-point piece of analysis from national treasure Rod Lyon. 99% Invisible has published a singularly compelling effort on the borderlands between North and South Korea—the truce towns, tank traps, tunnels and more. And if you’re a bit rusty on the where-what-how-why etc. of Guam, then this Lawfare piece (What the Heck Is Guam? A Guide for the Perplexed) is for you.

Here on The Strategist we’re not shy about shining a light on the occasional book review. Here are two gold-class entries you shouldn’t have missed. First, from the New Statesman, is a longer read on the tremendous impact World War II had on our collective psychology. (From the review: ‘A German survivor of the Allied bombing of Hamburg confessed to willing the bombers on in the hope of seeing the total destruction of his city, even though he was stricken with terror by the sight. This joy in destruction – which Freud explained as an expression of Thanatos, a death instinct – was evident in some of those who played a part in enabling the destruction to take place.’) Second, from Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (a Suggests first-timer), comes a review of Fritz Allhoff’s tome on the philosophy of torture, which comes down on the side of allowing torture in specific cases if harm by terrorism might be prevented.

Cats. Travel. History. Yikes. Don’t miss this Smithsonian Mag piece…

Are you feeling wonky? Do you fancy yourself an economics fiend who has outgrown Freakonomics? If so, you’re in luck!  None other than J. Bradford Delong is here to teach you how to think like an economist. Set aside some time because his masterclass is here. And if you just don’t know when to quit, then check out this sweet Quillette piece to learn a thing or two about statistical fallacies and paradoxes. (H/T to former ASPI intern Patrick Kennedy for that one.)

And if there’s a peak suggestion this week, it’s to sign up to Harper’s Weekly Review, which seems to be jostling for the title of best readout on what’s been going on in our brave new world. Head here to have it land in your inbox each Friday.


Regular readers of this feature will have clocked the podcast collab between TCU and CSIS, which brings Bob Schieffer and Andrew Schwartz face to face with some of the fourth estate’s most impressive brains. Sometimes the show grapples with our global dynamica (check out the recent episode with Graham Allison on dynamics in the US–China relationship (46 mins)), but often it’s American political journos talking about their business and their president. Most offer great insight into the DC swamp, with Maggie Haberman being one of the more entertaining guests (40 mins). Haberman recently rocked up to do a show with the gang over at Longform, which is well worth a listen. She is, most certainly, one to watch.


Here are a couple of good ’uns courtesy of VICE News. Since being published earlier this week, VICE’s vid on the events in Charlottesville has racked up over 4 million views. Check out the chilling 22-minute package, along with this John Oliver segment (4 mins). And on the back of recent bellicosity in the US–DPRK relationship, VICE has re-upped their snappy video highlighting their visit to Pyongyang for the Day of the Sun celebration and military parade on 27 April this year (5 mins).


Sydney: Michael Fullilove and James Curran will soon sit down to talk Trump. (Fullilove is the author of this recent Foreign Affairs essay, while Curran wrote the [a] book.) Head along to Bligh Street on the 23rd.

Canberra: Andrew Carr has bipartisanship on security issues in his sights. Don’t miss what’s sure to be a compelling presentation at SDSC next Thursday. Details here.

The ANU’s Japan Update is back again this year, with the Australia–Japan Research Centre having assembled its usual deeply impressive group of speakers to help you navigate Japan’s current economic and political landscape. Register online and then head on over to the ANU’s Finkel Theatre on 6 September.